RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam says Virginia is poised to initially receive 70,000 doses of the Coronavirus vaccine, and he is urging Virginians to get the vaccination when their turn comes.
Northam outlined plans for distributing the vaccine in three phases during a briefing Wednesday.
Initially, the vaccine will be given to frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities as outlined for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the medically vulnerable will be the second group of Virginians to receive the vaccination. Finally, the general public will be vaccinated.
“We are setting our priority groups because we expect that most people will want to get vaccinated, and there will be a lot of demand,” Northam said.
The Virginia Department of Health has worked to develop a detailed vaccination plan “that ensures we get vaccines to every part of the commonwealth and every population fairly and equitably,” Northam said.
“This could happen as early as mid-December,” he added.
Drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna are preparing to roll out vaccines that have been 95 percent effective in large-scale tests. Other vaccines are expected in the future.
“We have every reason to believe that these vaccinations are safe,” Northam said. “The best science available worldwide has gone into developing and researching these vaccines.”
Northam added that a Virginia Department of Health vaccination team has been reviewing the data on these vaccines.
“Vaccine science is nothing new,” he said. “Vaccines have been around since the first smallpox vaccination.”
Northam said the vaccine will spur the body to produce antibodies that combat the disease.
“Vaccines do not give you COVID-19,” he said. “Scientists know how to create vaccines that work, and most importantly, are safe.”
Northam urged Virginians to remain patient as the vaccine is distributed.
“We fully expect to have enough vaccine to get to everybody, but it will take time,” he said. “We all need to be patient.”
Northam said he and his family will not hesitate to take the vaccine.
“When our time comes, my family and I will have no hesitancy about getting vaccinated,” he said. “I strongly encourage every Virginian to get the vaccine.”
Gov. Northam at a West Rock press conference in Covington (Gavin Dressler Photo)